Dennis Rea — Views from Chicheng Precipice
(Moonjune MJR034, 2010, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01Classical Chinese poetry, like Japanese haiku, even in English translation, can be very evocative, carefully choosing certain details to trigger the mind to fill in an entire scene. For the most part using Chinese music (both traditional and modern) as an inspiration rather than actual source material, American guitarist Dennis Rea utilizes sparse instrumentation and superb musicianship to accomplish the same effect. With his various guitars, both electric and acoustic, at the core, and guests contributing other instruments, Rea creates aural spaces ranging from elegant melody to abstract noise. The Asian influence is pervasive but not a barrier to Western ears; other influences come from free jazz and electronic music of the more academic stripe (rather than popular dance styles). The result is paradoxically both personal and collective, clearly the product of Rea’s vision while featuring all the participants equitably. It’s a far cry from some of Rea’s other work, such as Moraine and Iron Kim Style, but the same questing spirit and open-minded creativity infuse the music with an intangible Rea-ness in spite of the vastly different sound. One track’s foray into bird-mimicking vocals may put off some listeners, but in general, this is highly listenable avant-garde music straddling genres to the point of making them irrelevant.
Related artist(s): Dennis Rea
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more